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Best imaging signs identified by radiomics could outperform the model: application to differentiating lung carcinoid tumors from atypical hamartomas.

Insights Into Imaging 2023 September 20
OBJECTIVES: Lung carcinoids and atypical hamartomas may be difficult to differentiate but require different treatment. The aim was to differentiate these tumors using contrast-enhanced CT semantic and radiomics criteria.

METHODS: Between November 2009 and June 2020, consecutives patient operated for hamartomas or carcinoids with contrast-enhanced chest-CT were retrospectively reviewed. Semantic criteria were recorded and radiomics features were extracted from 3D segmentations using Pyradiomics. Reproducible and non-redundant radiomics features were used to training a random forest algorithm with cross-validation. A validation-set from another institution was used to evaluate of the radiomics signature, the 3D 'median' attenuation feature (3D-median) alone and the mean value from 2D-ROIs.

RESULTS: Seventy-three patients (median 58 years [43‒70]) were analyzed (16 hamartomas; 57 carcinoids). The radiomics signature predicted hamartomas vs carcinoids on the external dataset (22 hamartomas; 32 carcinoids) with an AUC = 0.76. The 3D-median was the most important in the model. Density thresholds < 10 HU to predict hamartoma and > 60 HU to predict carcinoids were chosen for their high specificity > 0.90. On the external dataset, sensitivity and specificity of the 3D-median and 2D-ROIs were, respectively, 0.23, 1.00 and 0.13, 1.00 < 10 HU; 0.63, 0.95 and 0.69, 0.91 > 60 HU. The 3D-median was more reproducible than 2D-ROIs (ICC = 0.97 95% CI [0.95‒0.99]; bias: 3 ± 7 HU limits of agreement (LoA) [- 10‒16] vs. ICC = 0.90 95% CI [0.85‒0.94]; bias: - 0.7 ± 21 HU LoA [- 4‒40], respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: A radiomics signature can distinguish hamartomas from carcinoids with an AUC = 0.76. Median density < 10 HU and > 60 HU on 3D or 2D-ROIs may be useful in clinical practice to diagnose these tumors with confidence, but 3D is more reproducible.

CRITICAL RELEVANCE STATEMENT: Radiomic features help to identify the most discriminating imaging signs using random forest. 'Median' attenuation value (Hounsfield units), extracted from 3D-segmentations on contrast-enhanced chest-CTs, could distinguish carcinoids from atypical hamartomas (AUC = 0.85), was reproducible (ICC = 0.97), and generalized to an external dataset.

KEY POINTS: • 3D-'Median' was the best feature to differentiate carcinoids from atypical hamartomas (AUC = 0.85). • 3D-'Median' feature is reproducible (ICC = 0.97) and was generalized to an external dataset. • Radiomics signature from 3D-segmentations differentiated carcinoids from atypical hamartomas with an AUC = 0.76. • 2D-ROI value reached similar performance to 3D-'median' but was less reproducible (ICC = 0.90).

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